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Flowers milk bottles

Et cetera - late Middle English: Latin, from et ‘and’ and cetera

 ‘the rest’ (neuter plural of ceterus ‘left over’)

Et cetera

Apparently, "etc", or "et cetera" in Latin, means "and so forth" or "and the rest" or "and other things". I don't know much Latin apart from all of the flower names they made us learn at floristry college, but what I do know is that it seems the perfect phrase to describe this section of the website. I need a place to just plonk all the other flowery and random things in my brain that I would like to share with you all and as I can think of no better title, this is it! I hope you enjoy all the content below, the most recent entries will show at the top, so scroll down if you would like to catch up with anything you have missed.

March Madness!

Friday, 10th March 2021

Just another update on where I am with my workload this year so far ...


I gave Mother's Day flowers a miss this year as wholesale flower prices have been all over the place of late (as has my diary!) Who knows why but we're guessing post Brexit, post Covid, lack of weddings, etc. We are very fortunate in Oxfordshire to have some of the best florists in the land so I know you will all have been well supplied with beautiful blooms for your mums! Hopefully, next year when we are POST VIRUS (yay!) I will be able to give Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and everything else the full attention they deserve.


As many of you know, I am now a bespoke florist in that I don't hold stock but buy the flowers from the growers as and when I receive orders from my customers.  As there is a minimum order limit with most growers, this means I am most likely to have flowers during very busy periods like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Christmas, etc. and for large funeral orders, weddings, events and group floristry classes. It's sad in a way that I can't offer gift bouquets as and when and I am trying to think of a way around this so watch this space.  


Ideally I would have flowers in stock all the time but financially I need to be practical. It's making these changes that I know will ensure my business survives where others haven't in what has been an unprecedented and difficult year for the flower industry.  Every florist operates in a different way and this is how it has to be for me for now at least.


So! Weddings! My main source of income which has been practically non-existent this last 12 months.  Now that dear old Boris has announced a cautious "no more social restrictions" on weddings from 21st June, my world has gone a little bonkers and I'm receiving  about 5 - 10 enquiries per day, a lot of which are turning into actual bookings.  As such, my diary is more or less full from July to November this year what with last year's poor brides being shoved across and a lot of new bookings joining them. 2022 is also filling up fast and 2023 has a handful booked in already.


I attended a wedding supplier webinar a few days ago.  Among the attendees were statisticians who have been researching the current wedding climate and receiving feedback from engaged couples and suppliers hoping to plan weddings in the next eighteen months.  It is estimated that there will be a million people in the UK getting married during this period and as such the wedding industry will be experiencing a huge increase in bookings enabling us all to "bounce back".  I do hope so!  Having said that I am already envisaging a decrease in my social activity and my husband will definitely be on cooking and dog walking duty during busy periods (he loves me really!) 


So if you haven't stopped reading by now, I'd just like to say thank you to all of you for your support and here's to a very busy next year or so.  Cautiously optimistic is the expression to use I think.  


Please do text me, email me or drop me a line on Facebook (links at the bottom of the page) if you have any thoughts to share.  I am also grateful for feedback, good or bad as it helps me to know what I am doing right or wrong (hubby is a great believer in this!)


Cathy x


My Dream Job!

Friday, 26th February 2021

So, I'm going slightly off topic here - I finally watched Bridgerton last night.  As hubby was away and I was looking for something to keep me company I thought I'd watch a programme that I knew wouldn't be his cup of tea!  Yes I know it was first broadcast on Christmas Day so I'm very late to the party, but then I always am when it comes to TV programmes.  My down time is more often than not spent with my nose in a book or my head on a pillow!  


Anyway, as every florist knows, if there are any flowers to be seen in anything on screen, we like to scrutinise!  I personally thought the florals in Bridgerton looked wonderful, very heavy on the wisteria by look of it!   Apparently all the arrangements were overseen by none other than Helen Byrne who has also done the flower arrangements for Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge and Peaky Blinders to name but a few.  But what really interested me is that that she also did the flowers for The Crown which is another Netflix show.  The Crown is filmed in part at the gorgeous Englefield Estate in Berkshire as they use the house and church to depict Sandringham in some scenes.  I was lucky enough to be working on a wedding there in January of last year and created several arrangements throughout the house (see a couple of photos below) and was asked by the crew, who were working on Season 2 there that week, whether I would delay taking down the flowers after the wedding so that they could use them in the background while filming.  I said yes, with the bride and groom's permission of course!

At that point, I hadn't even heard of The Crown. I went home and googled it and made a mental note to watch Season 2 at some point so I could enjoy my moment but I never did! But what an amazing job doing the florals for all of those period dramas must be, like going back in time. I so love that English country garden vintage floral style, it would just be my dream job. Although I would imagine it'​s day after day of very hard work. Maybe just easier to watch the telly and admire the view!


Cathy x

Happy Valentine's Day

Sunday, 14th February 2021


"Who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart courage to make love known"

Happy Birthday to Us!

Friday, 5th February 2021

I'm so proud to be able to say that my little business has survived an amazing ten years!

Special mention goes to our van which I think, apart from me, is the only thing that still remains a part of the business, although neither of us, it has to be said, are in our 2011 condition!  We are pretty much the same, Vanda and I, we are both older and more battered but despite everything that's been thrown at us, we're still here!  I bought her when she was three years old and have considered replacing her on more than one occasion as, to be honest, driving round in a tatty twenty year old van is probably not the best way to portray a successful business! But then I always have the same thought ... why spend the money on something that is working perfectly well?  I am probably going to jinx things here but, unlike me, she hardly ever breaks down, she just keeps going!  And lovely Lewis our mechanic has pointed out that if you get a good one they will go on forever, a bit like my husband then, I've been driving him round the bend for 40 years!  

Spending unnecessary money on the business is something I try very hard not to do (hence building this website myself and working from my home) as I want to keep my costs down wherever I can and pass this saving on to my clients.  If I can just make a little profit I'm happy.  At one point I thought maybe I would have more than one shop and a big team of staff but looking back, I am quite relieved I have ended up here, still loving what I do, very hands on and able to deal personally with every customer I have.  As for Vanda, I thi​nk when she does finally leave me, I may have to have a part of her mounted on the living room wall!


And for those of you who have been with me from the beginning, who remembers the blue flower logo?  I've incorporated several blue flowers in the new artwork, just as a little reminder of the days gone by, but I think the new style very much reflects how my floral designs have changed over the years.  My team and I produced mainly contemporary and modern arrangements back then, whereas now I have learned to embrace the more natural, English country garden look.  But it's good to be able to turn my hand to whatever style I'm asked for, having had experience of most of them.  Working with other florists also helps with this as we all learn from each other and become more diverse as time goes on.


This post is too long!  Time to go but before I do, I  want to thank every one of you who has ordered flowers from me for whatever reason since 2011, for supporting me and befriending me, it means so much.  I have loved providing flowers for all of you and I'm very much looking forward to doing more of the same! 


Cathy x 



New Beginnings

Monday, 1st February 2021


So, as this is the first post on this page, I should probably tell those that don't know a little more about the business.  Look away now or settle down and read on, whichever you prefer ...


The Flower Shop as a company was founded at the be​ginning of 2011 and until now, has very much been portrayed in a very businesslike and corporate way.  Indeed,  at the beginning of its life, it was a bricks and mortar shop with premises, staff and buckets of cut flowers on display.  However, pretty early on I realised that this wasn't the way I wanted to work.  By the end of 2012, most of our orders were being taken either over the phone or online so it seemed sensible to try a different approach.  I decided to begin working from home, offering a bespoke and more personal service to those customers wanting wedding, event and seasonal occasion flowers, as well as focusing on my love of teaching floristry which I hadn't had time for while running the shop.  As The Flower Shop name had become well established in the two years before this, it was decided that we would keep the business name the same which did cause some confusion in the early days!  Since then, The Flower Shop has become well known for high quality flowers and excellent customer service and I feel proud of what has been achieved.  I now have the time to really get to know the flower growers and care about the flowers I sell and to give my personal attention to every customer, whether they are buying flowers from me or attending one of my floristry classes. 

One of the things I haven't really embraced fully so far is the marketing side of the business.  We had a very basic website but I'm not sure if it generated much interest.  I've had so much work by recommendation over the years that I haven't really bothered to think about how I could do more in the way of advertising.  I have been advised by friends more knowledgeable than myself on the subject of marketing that I need to "sell myself" or "put myself out there".  So, until I get my head around anything else,  this is the place where I will be trying to share what I do, the way that I do it and who I do it with (mainly hubby and the dogs to be fair!)

 

First and foremost, I should say that if you are expecting high tech videos and fancy Instagram stories to pop up on here, you may be disappointed.  I have managed to build this very basic website on my own but having said that, it's taken me a long time to do, lockdown has had some advantages!  I am far more comfortable playing with flowers for hours on end than I am in front of a computer, but I think it's turned out ok despite not looking very corporate!  Some of the wedding photos on this site were taken by professionals, the rest of the photos were taken by me mostly on my phone so not very high resolution!  Hopefully as time goes on, I can get better at this and post some more artistic shots of flowers.  One thing I am a bit rubbish at when I have my head down and away with the flowers is remembering to take photos at all to be honest! 


So yes, probably no videos!  I'm not a fan of anything that features me front and centre, especially when there are gorgeous flowers that are much more pleasurable to look at!  It's funny how we can hate the way we look, sound, move and everything else and yet all of our lovely friends think we're amazing.  But I guess it's probably better than being over confident and dislikable!  


What I will be doing is a lot more of this, just sharing my thoughts as well as hopefully giving you all something positive to take away with you.  Maybe a flowery fact you didn't know, a floristry tip for your own arrangements, the name of an awesome supplier that I can recommend to you or just a floral photo or funny story to make you smile.  And lots of lovely memories to share with you from The Flower Shop's ten year history, maybe a Wedding Wednesday, Throwback Thursday or Flower Fact Friday along the way.


If there is anything you would like to see here in the future just let me know via social media (all the links are at the bottom of this page) or on our contact page or by email.  


Which just leaves me to say welcome to the new website and here's to the next ten years of The Flower Shop, in whatever form that may take!


Cathy x 




The Flower Shop

25 Vicarage Close

Chalgrove

Oxfordshire

OX44 7RD




Call us on

07512 212283 or

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